Iheanacho stays in Leicester to represent missed opportunity
The 22-year-old has been on Leicester’s books since 2017, but has run up against the same barrier that others have: with Vardy’s pace and finishing efficiency so central to how the club plays – and this being a reality that has persisted regardless of the identity of the manager in the dugout – and his physical condition almost perpetually excellent, it is nigh-on impossible to get ahead of him.
However, compared to Slimani and Ghezzal, Iheanacho has actually had greater opportunity to put himself forward, even if only to force a tactical re-shaping of the side.
Last season, the former Manchester City forward made 30 appearances in the Premier League for the Foxes. Granted, only nine were starts, but of the 21 substitute appearances, a further 10 saw him feature for 20 minutes or more.
There have also been potentially decisive moments, most notably in matches against the two Manchester clubs in the second half of the season.
Against Manchester City, who ended up winning the Premier League by a solitary point, he spurned a gilt-edged chance to essentially decide the destination of the title on the penultimate matchday of the season, skewing a one-on-one with an unprotected Ederson Moraes well wide. It marked a low point for Iheanacho, as he suffered disgusting racial abuse online in the aftermath of that miss.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has made vague noises about him being the most natural back-up to Vardy, but the acquisition of Ayoze Perez in the summer ought to have set off alarm bells: the Spaniard is an attacking dogsbody, capable of playing across the frontline, and it was he who was sat on the bench for the visit of the Cherries.